So far this year has not gone as planned. In my queue was a slew of posts (an interview, a giveaway and more recipes) to make up for the break I always take during the holidays. But as luck had it, I got sick. A cold that started in December, with a brief respite for Christmas, returned with a vengeance (and a raging cough) in early January. With the aid of prescription drugs, I’m finally on my way to full recovery barring any unforeseen freak virus that I happen to encounter.
While I was sick I took the opportunity to cook up a batch of soups. While thin watery soups may work for some, I like soups with lots savory bits. Broth alone doesn’t satisfy me and I need something solid in my stomach to call it a meal.
This recipe for garlic soup (originally found in Bon Appetit) was appealing but didn’t have those satisfying chunks I need. So out of necessity to use up what I already had in the kitchen, I added some sliced potatoes. While terrific on its own, I went further and topped the finished soup with bread and cheese and broiled it in the oven until the cheese melted. Think French onion soup but with garlic.
This a great soup while on the edge to full recovery from a cold. Even better yet, make a batch of this if you feel if you’re on the verge of something. Garlic has many health benefits including being a natural antibiotic. This soup has it in spades, using three heads of roasted garlic. The additional squeeze of lemon at the end brightens up the soup and adds a tanginess that I always seem to enjoy especially when I’m feeling under the weather.
Hearty Garlic and Potato Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 head of garlic, cloves removed and unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 head of garlic, cloves removed and peeled
2 shallots, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 red skinned potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup half-and-half
4 lemon wedges
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small baguette, sliced
Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place unpeeled garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes until garlic is golden brown and tender. Let cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, thyme and reserved cloves of peeled garlic and cook until shallots are translucent. Add roasted garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add chicken stock; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Puree garlic with immersion blender in saucepan until smooth. (Or while working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth and return to saucepan.) Add half-and-half and potatoes. Simmer for 20 more minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
Optional step: Divide soup into four oven-safe bowls. Top with baguette slices until soup is covered and top with cheese. Set bowls under broiler for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.
Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.